Week 40 of Your Pregnancy
Once you reach 40 weeks gestation, officially your pregnancy ends. However, babies rarely follow the rules. Maybe your resident will stay a few days longer. Your body is at the ideal temperature and knows exactly what your baby needs for nutrients. No wonder the kids are comfortable in the belly.
Generally speaking, babies usually come into the world two weeks before or after their due date. Few catches, the day itself. Birth is not induced immediately once the baby passes the 40th week of gestation. But every two days there is now an examination.
As it gets tighter in your belly, they also check how the umbilical cord is positioned. In some babies, the umbilical cord wraps around the neck and this is unfortunately not good, because otherwise, they could suffocate. By the way, this is also a common reason for a cesarean section. If doctors notice that the baby’s heart tones are changing, they react immediately.
Table of content
- Development of the baby
- Size and weight of the baby in the 40th week of pregnancy
- What the baby does at birth
- How is the expectant mom in the 40th week of pregnancy?
- Your baby is getting ready to go
- What happens after the birth?
- FAQ – 40th week of Pregnancy
- 40 Weeks Pregnant: Your Baby is Now Ready For Delivery – Video
Here you can find all of our 3rd trimester articles:
Development of the baby
In the past few weeks, the baby has stored so many fat reserves that they now account for about 15 percent of its body weight.
In the 40th week of gestation, the fetal liver also increasingly stores starch from the mother’s bloodstream. This starch is converted into glucose by the fetal organism after birth. This sugar, which is then channeled into the circulation, benefits the newborn – until the mother produces mature breast milk about three to four days after delivery. Thus, glucose serves as the baby’s first source of nutrition and transition until the breastfeeding period has begun.
The first milk from the mother, the so-called foremilk, provides the newborn with important defense substances that benefit the development of its immune system. This enables the baby to protect itself against germs with which it is confronted outside the womb.
In particular, the common cold should be mentioned here, with which a newborn child quickly comes into contact.
The child, immediately before its birth, has no more room in the womb. Thus, it lies curled up in the birthing position with its head already deep in the mother’s small pelvis – waiting. You will notice that your baby maintains this curled-up position for the first two to three weeks after birth.
In the 40th week of pregnancy, a baby measure about 19.5-20.5 inches and has thus reached its birth size. If you now imagine how you hold your baby in your arms, the image of a very large ornamental pumpkin is just right. With its approximate body weight of 7.5 lbs, the baby is also in the average birth weight of all newborns.
The baby also faces an exciting and exhausting process with its birth. The beginning is already in the exercise contractions of the last few weeks. It becomes very uncomfortable for the little person when, during the opening contractions, the uterus contracts completely, at first at longer, then at shorter intervals. During this process, the unborn baby is massaged properly by the muscles of the uterus and pushed further down.
Before the head, as the largest part of the baby, can push through the mother’s vagina, the baby still has to pass through a right-angled bend. This is usually a very painful part of the delivery for the mother.
Once the baby has survived this procedure, its head appears at the vaginal entrance. Here, the fontanel receives the stimulus for the newborn’s first breath from the draught of air that is present in the outside world. This is usually accompanied by the baby’s first cry and a startled facial expression. This means that the crucial part of the birth is over. Now the baby’s shoulders still need to be born, which now requires a few strong pushing contractions from the mother. After that, your baby will glide into the world like a fish out of water and will be completely born. Now your darling needs you above all!
How is the expectant mom in the 40th week of pregnancy?
At the end of the 40th week of pregnancy, your long waiting and longing have now come to an end, because now the calculated date of birth of your child is reached, and the pregnancy is coming to an end. The behavior of your unborn child in terms of fetal movements can now be quite different. Either the baby is very active with the parts of its body that are not so constricted, or it rests and waits for the uterus to be active during delivery. Labor activity can vary just as much. At some times of the day, you may feel like it’s finally starting, then again you may not notice any contractions and it’s very quiet in your abdomen. This is certainly the calm before the storm.
State of emergency for the body
The signs in the last week of pregnancy can be very different and diffuse, because your body is now in a state of emergency, and an enormous effort is ahead of it. Controlled by a cocktail of hormones, the body is prompted to cleanse itself once again. This can manifest itself in nausea, with possible vomiting and/or diarrhea. Diarrhea usually has the function that the contractions of the intestine additionally stimulate labor. Irregular contractions can also trigger diarrhea, thus these two mechanisms support each other. Similarly, headache, bloating and stomach pain can be a sign of the onset of labor.
Diffuse abdominal pain
Labor itself manifests as diffuse abdominal pain and a strong pulling sensation in the abdomen. At first, this will repeat at irregular intervals for several hours until finally, the contractions become stronger and more regular. During this phase, the cervix opens, which is why bleeding may occur. If there are regular moderately strong to strong contractions with an interval of about five minutes, expectant mothers should inform the midwife or ask to be driven to the clinic.
Your baby communicates when it is ready for birth by releasing hormones. Your body responds by releasing hormones as well and begins the labor process. Regular contractions eight to ten minutes apart within an hour, ruptured water, or light bleeding mean birth is beginning – you should get to the birthing site. With the first baby, there is still plenty of time after these signs before the baby really sees the light of day. With the second or third child, it can go faster. The birth also takes much longer for first-time mothers – an average of 13 hours. The last hours in your belly serve to prepare the baby once again for the new circumstances by providing it with a cocktail of hormones.
What happens after the birth?
If your birth proceeds normally, the doctors or midwife will place your baby on your stomach so that you can touch each other for the first time. You should enjoy this moment in peace. It is very intimate. It is the first step toward successful bonding. For the first time, your baby feels who he or she has been with for nine months. It will probably want to drink right away. Some babies find the nipple on their own, where the especially nutritious colostrum is waiting for them – the colostrum.
If the father is present and wants to, he may cut the umbilical cord. This is an equally intimate moment that many fathers are proud of. After that, your baby will be weighed, measured, and bathed.
In addition, the first examinations take place to see if everything is okay. In the meantime, you can rest a little. Right after that, you will want to get to know your baby better and not let him or her out of your hands so quickly. Your partner can also look at the baby in peace.
After your baby is born, the placenta will follow. The afterbirth, as it is also called, is checked for completeness and then disposed of. Depending on the culture, you can do whatever you want with it. If you have decided to freeze the umbilical cord blood, this will also be done for you. Of course, you can also donate it. Please find out in advance what you want to do with the birth remains.
FAQ - Twenty Seventh week of Pregnancy
At 40 weeks pregnant, your little one really could arrive any day now; but then again, he or she might want to spend just a bit more time inside your cosy belly. He or she is now curled up tightly, and will usually be in a downward-facing position by this stage.
Pregnancy is considered to be “full-term” at 40 weeks (or 280 days). A pregnancy that continues for longer than 42 weeks is called a post-term, prolonged or overdue pregnancy. If the mother and baby are both doing well, being up to one week “late” isn’t associated with any particular risks for either of them.
At 40 to 41 weeks, if your cervix is dilated at least 2 centimeters, the midwives in Hasman’s practice perform what’s called a “cervical sweep,” using a finger to separate the cervix from the amniotic sac. This can sometimes kick-start labor.